You’ve noticed your toddler has been playfully hitting his younger sibling for quite some time. He also hits you in the face or bites you on the lap. Though his aggressive behavior comes in different ways, he still finds it funny hitting or pushing someone. What to do then when your little one is being aggressive?
The moment the toddler playfully bites or hits someone, it is best not to encourage him to do it the second time. Playing along with him might give an impression that you are encouraging such behavior. It is best to stop the wrongdoing as promptly as possible.
Orient the child that parents or siblings should not be hit. Or you may opt to isolate him for a minute or two. Either way, you are instilling in him that what he did was wrong. He cannot come near you or his sibling if he continues to hurt either of you. After that, explain to him that all he needs to do are hugs and kisses. Remain calm and loving.
Encourage to say sorry and verbalize feelings
When everyone is calm after the hitting incident, give your child the chance to apologize to his sibling or to you. This is to inculcate in him that any wrongdoing merits forgiveness. It is best as well to explain to your youngster that hurting a friend or loved one is not acceptable.
If the toddler has his ways to speak, allow him to verbalize his feelings. That way, you hear from him his concerns and his reasons for doing so. You might discover that he only mirrors someone’s aggressive ways. This way as well, actively listening to a child encourages him to communicate verbally than physically. In the process, too, he will understand about feelings and learn that the happy feelings are hugging, kissing, and smiling. Biting, hitting, and hurting someone results to sad emotions.
Give an outlet to release energy
Toddlers can be overwhelmed as well. Suddenly biting his parents, for instance, may be his way to release that excitement over something. Research says that the more time kids spend releasing their energy productively, the less likely they think of mischievous acts like biting, hitting or pushing. Let them run, dance, sing, and play outside.
Sometimes, too, youngsters tend to be aggressive because of boredom. But with the proper avenue to channel their energy, they are most likely to grow happy, cheerful and less aggressive.
Limit contact with an aggressive playmate
Sometimes, a child learns about an aggressive behavior from his playmate. Since you cannot discipline the other kid, it is best to limit your child’s contact with his friend. As they say, prevention is better than cure. You may also request for a dialogue with the parent of the playmate and air your side. But never reprimand the child as it is his parent’s responsibility to discipline him.
Limit screen time
Studies say that children exposed to a lot of screen time are more likely to be aggressive than those who spend less time on tv screens and gadgets. Youngsters tend to be more frustrated when they can’t get what they want.
Sometimes, they follow the tone and action of those cartoon characters, even the offensive lines. It is still prudent to check what the kids watch. Or best, give them a break from screens by allowing them to play outdoor games.
Show how to be gentle
Often, it isn’t the child’s intention to hurt. He might be just trying to tap his younger brother just the way you do to him when you put him to sleep. He just can’t control his reflexes.
The most prudent way to show him how to properly hug, pat or kiss someone is to demonstrate and show it gently. Research also shows that the more hugs and kisses a child receives from his loved ones, the more he feels secure. It is best, too, to give him a few minutes of one-on-one attention to all the more feel he, too, is special and loved.
Model non-aggressive behavior
As cliché as it may sound, a child mirrors the behavior of his elders. Spanking and yelling to discipline a toddler might create an impression to his young mind that it is the right way to do. This justifies then the behavior of the kid to do the same to get his parent’s attention. As a parent, it is still best to model non-aggressive behavior, especially in dealing with the young. More than the harmony inside the house if there is no spanking or shouting, it teaches the youngster that there are positive ways to deal with issues.
Praise good behavior
As the parent reacts and corrects a child when the latter behaves aggressively, so should he acknowledge the youngster of his calm behavior. Simple gestures like calmly waiting for his turn for an ice cream treat or sharing his toys with a friend are worthy to be recognized. It is important for the ego and understanding of a child to be praised for his good behavior. This all the more pushes him to behave and be the good child you always expect him to be.
How to deal with aggressive kids
For one, aggressive behavior happens when a child feels frustrated. He cannot find the words to express his emotion thus turns to be physical. Also, he may feel overwhelmed and too happy that he can’t control his happiness. Either way, he may be clueless about such behavior, thus, it is prudent to let him know his wrongdoings. There are some who act aggressively to get attention. In this case, a constant show of love and care is but the best.
Again, with time, attention, and love, chances are your child will outgrow his aggressive tendencies. It is best, too, to check your behavior as it may reflect negatively on your kid.